The launches of Wikipedia and Google's AdWords, the election of U.S. President Barack Obama and the closing of Napster are among the most influential internet moments of the decade, according to the annual Webby awards.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, "epitomizes the internet's power to bring strangers from around the world together to collaborate on projects both big and small," while Google's targeted text ad system "turned advertising on its head," the awards' organizers said in a release.
The 2008 U.S. presidential election, the release said, transformed every aspect of the way election campaigns are fought.
The annual Webby awards, which made their debut in 1996, are judged by a 650-member academy, with members including one of the internet's inventors, Vint Cerf, as well as Simpsons' creator Matt Groening and media magnate Martha Stewart.
"The internet is the story of decade because it was the catalyst for change in not just every aspect of our everyday lives, but in everything from commerce and communication to politics and pop culture," said David-Michel Davies, executive director of the awards. "The recurring theme among all of the milestones on our list is the internet's capacity to circumvent old systems and put more power into the hands of ordinary people."
Other events that made the list include the shutting down of Napster; the expansion of Craigslist out of San Francisco; the opening of Facebook to the masses; the online video revolution led by YouTube; the iPhone's debut; Google's initial public offering and this year's protests of the Iranian elections, which were mobilized through social media including Twitter.